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China, North Korea, Iran Pose 'Greatest Danger' To US: Poll

Air Force One carrying visiting United States President George W. Bush and his entourage takes to the skies over Beijing as a Chinese paramilitary soldier stands guard on the tarmac at Beijing's Capital International Airport, 21 November 2005. Bush left Beijing for Mongolia after meeting with top Chinese leaders following his arrival here 19 November from the APEC summit in Busan, South Korea. AFP photo by Frederic J. Brown.

Washington (AFP) Nov 17, 2005
China, North Korea and Iran are seen by American opinion leaders as posing the "greatest danger" to the United States, a survey showed last Thursday.

There was no consensus as to which country represented the biggest danger, marking a change from a poll taken in the summer of 2001, when China was singled out, according to the Pew Research Center's quadrennial survey of US foreign policy attitudes.

"The Iraq war and continuing threat of terrorism have dramatically affected the way opinion leaders and the public look at potential threats from other countries," said a report by the independent opinion research group.

Four years ago, prior to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, "there was broad concurrence, if not a consensus," that China represented the greatest danger to the United States, it noted.

"Today, opinion leaders mention China, North Korea and Iran each about as frequently," said the survey conducted in September and October 2005.

The poll also showed that when assessing specific threats to the United States, opinion leaders and the public expressed a high level of concern over the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran.

"The general public generally regards both countries' nuclear programs as worrisome," it said.

Other possible international threats -- including China's emergence as a world power -- triggered less concern, the Pew Center said.

"Influentials are deeply divided over whether China's growing power represents a major threat to the US," it said.

Looking into the future, many opinion leaders saw China and India, with their huge populations and rapidly expanding economies, as increasingly important partners for the United States.

"Pluralities in four of the eight opinion leader groups (surveyed) identify China as a country that will be more important to the US in the future, while pluralities in another three groups name India," it said.

Underscoring the rising importance of Asia generally, foreign affairs specialists and security experts most often name India as a country likely to emerge as a more important US partner.

News media leaders cite China and India equally as often.

The survey also showed that more Americans saw the amount of American debt held by foreign investors as a major threat than a possible China-Taiwan conflict and other long-standing foreign policy concerns.

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Bush And Roh Say A Nuclear-Armed North Korea Is Unacceptable
Busan, South Korea (AFP) Nov 17, 2005
US President George W. Bush and South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun set aside their differences over North Korea Thursday and declared that a nuclear-armed Pyongyang was unacceptable.

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